Synopses & Reviews
Move over Dora the Explorer. Out of the way Junie B. Gabí está aquí! A school and family-based Little Apple series with a funny, spunky Latina main character--a wonderful first for Scholastic!
With her friends and familia by her side, Gabi* is ready for anything--sort of.
Maritza Gabriela Morales Mercado (Gabi for short) has big problemas. Her worst enemy, Johnny Wiley, is driving her crazy. He makes fun of her name. He picks on her friends. And now Gabi has to spend an entire month working with him on a school project! Gabi is so upset she can't even talk straight. Her English words keep getting jumbled up with her Spanish words. Now she's speaking a crazy mix of both, and no one knows what she's saying! Will Gabi ever make sense again? Or will she be tongue-tied forever?
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books June 2003 0-439-47519-8 $3.99
Third-grader Maritza Cabricla Morales Mercado (Gaby at home) has a problem- johnny and Sissy, two of her least favorite people in her class, are her partners for a science report about strange and unusual animals. johnny is a bully who teases Gaby about her name, Sissy is a snob, and they can't agree on what animal to study. A surprise visit from her grandmother
helps Gaby solve the problem: her grandmother gives her a tape of the sounds of coqui, tiny Puerto Rican tree frogs. When Gaby plays it in class, even johny and Sissy agree they want to learn more about the strange and beautiful frogs. Since part of the resolution involves the importance of the accent over the in "Gahy,' it's confusing that her name initially appears
without it even in Gaby's own first-person narration, and some of the secondary characters are a bit flatly drawn. Gaby and her family are sketched with affectionate detail that makes them particularly attractive, however, and the text is energetic and bouncy, just like the amiable main character; the dialogue is an easy mix of English, Spanish, and Spanglish (a Spanish/Engfish glossary is appended). The cast of characters is decidedly multicultural and the classroom dynamics are, while neat, believable. Short chapters, large typeface, and angular yet jolly fine drawings by Cepeda add to the book's accessibility. This is a solid early chapter book (the first in a new series) that knows the audience it wants and reaches it
with humor and flair. JNFD
**Praise for Marisa Montes' writing:
"...a sparkling read-aloud." --SLJ
"..a rollicking adventure." --Booklist
Juan Bobo Goes to Work
"...the funny, well-paced retelling smoothly incorporates Spanish words and phrases...this will be popular whereever children love to laugh." --Booklist
Something Wicked's in Those Woods
"A suspenseful page-turner." --Booklist
**Cepeda's expressive and engaging style--his skillful use of color, bold brushstrokes, and energetic compositions--always receives glowing praise:
"sumptuously rich...pleasure giving"-Kirkus
"Cepeda's saucy oil paintings...have real bite." --Publisher's Weekly
Gabi's got issues. Her arch nemesis Johnny Wyzinski keeps teasing her about her name, her little brother gets bullied by some boys down the street, and Gabi has to give up her bedroom when Abuelita comes to visit. "AQue horror!" Illustrations.
About the Author
Marisa Montes was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved several times with her family throughout the rest of her childhood. At the age of four, her family moved to Missouri, then Toul, France when she was seven and eventually to California when she turned ten. It was in France, however, that Montes first discovered her love for literature and writing. There, she had no access to American television, so instead found entertainment through books. Literature made quite an impact on her, because as she explains, Books are now my life.”
Montes was educated at University of California - Santa Cruz and then continued on in law school at University of California - Hastings College of Law. She practiced law for a few years, moved into legal publishing and then finally became a full time children's writer. Her diverse background has enabled her to write in a variety of genres, in several languages. She has written two mystery novels, Something Wicked's In Those Woods, A Circle of Time and two picture books, Juan Bobo Goes To Work and Egg-Napped! Her books have won several awards, including the 2003 WILLA Literary Award.
Her most recent project is the series Get Ready for Gabi! , published by Scholastic Inc. Illustrated by Joseph Cepeda, the series includes A Crazy Mixed Up Spanglish Day, Who's That Girl? , No More Spanish! , Please Don't Go! and All in the Familia. This series, praised as realistic fiction, demonstrates to children the wonders of bilingualism. Gabi is a funny, spunky Latin American protagonist that provides inspiration to children.
Marisa Montes currently lives in Northern California with her husband David.
Mr Cepeda received his BFA in illustration from California State University, Long Beach in 1992 and also studied Engineering at Cornell University. He is the illustrator of awarding-winning picture books such as What a Truly Cool World and Nappy Hair.